The Library Spot

Reading, Media, & Technology at Garden Spot LMC

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Welcome back!

The Library Media Center welcomes you back to another school year at Garden Spot High School and Middle School!  The Library is expanding its services this year, by having a Librarian in the Media Center every Tuesday and Thursday.  Be sure to stop in and meet Mrs. Betzner, Mrs. Means, and Ms. Tenenbaum.  They can help you find something fun to read, assist you with research assignments, show you how to cite your sources correctly, and direct you to the best resources for your projects. If you prefer e-books and audio books, we can show you how to use Overdrive to find them. You can access all the e-resources 24/7 online both at school and at home. The Media Center will also be offering special programs and activities for Teen Read Week, Teen Tech Week, and National Library Week. No matter what your information or reading needs, the Library Media Center has you covered!  Hope to see you in the Media Center!



From book to screen this summer!

Need something to read this summer?  Several young adult novels are being made into movies and will soon be at a theater near you.   Of course, most of the buzz has been about The Fault in Our Stars, which comes to theaters on June 6. You might want to order your tickets online because I imagine long lines for this highly anticipated movie.  Be sure to bring kleenex!  Author John Green has had a major role on the movie set, and from what I have read, the film is faithful to the movie.  Ansel Elgort plays Augustus Waters and Shailene Woodley plays Hazel Grace Lancaster.  The two also starred together in Divergent.  In case you haven’t heard about this book, it is the story of two teens who meet at a cancer support group and fall in love. Even though many of us already know how the story ends, I expect we will still enjoy seeing Gus and Hazel move from print to screen.  So read the book, or read it again, buy your ticket, grab some tissues, and head to the theater for this one.  Everyone will be talking about it, so don’t miss it!

Spend July reading, or re-reading, The Giver by Lois Lowry.  The movie hits the theaters on August 15.  You may have read this book in Middle School, but it is certainly a story for all ages.  The story revolves around Jonas and his life in a Utopian Society that has eliminated pain and strife by converting to “Sameness,” a plan to eliminate emotional pain. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of “Receiver of Memory,” the person who stores all the past memories of the time before Sameness, in case they are ever needed again. As Jonas receives the memories from The Giver, he discovers the power of knowledge.  But, does he want this power and what will he do with it?  Jeff Bridges is starring as The Giver and Brenton Thwaites plays Jonas. Taylor Swift also stars.  From what I have read, the movie is not going to be entirely faithful to the book, so you might want to read it before heading to the theater to refresh your memory.

Another one you will want to see is If I Stay which opens August 22.  Based on the novel by Gayle Foreman, it tells the story of Mia, a young cellist, who hovers between life and death after a car crash kills her parents and brother. The story is told in flashbacks as her boyfriend and others try to convince her that life is worth living despite its tragedies.  Chloe Grace Moretz plays Mia, and Jamie Blackley plays her boyfriend.  I found this a powerful and emotional book that made me cry, so I am taking plenty of tissues to the theater with me!  You should too!

If you like action, adventure, with sci-fi mixed in be sure to catchThe Maze Runner on September 19, based on the book by James Dasher. The book is action-packed with twists and turns, and I hope the movie captures this same excitement.  Thomas wakes up to find himself in an enclosed environment that is similar to a maze. It is called the Glades and the other boys he meets have been trapped in the maze for almost two years. Thomas is determined to get out, but quickly realizes that is not going to be easy.  Dylan O’Brian plays Thomas, and Will Poulter plays Gally.  This is one guys especially are not going to want to miss.

So whether you are headed to the beach, the mountains, camping, or just hanging out in your backyard, these are four great books to read, to enjoy, and to experience on screen!

Mysteries to keep you guessing

I love a good mystery!  Mysteries are puzzles begging to be solved. Good mysteries make the reader think and keep the reader guessing until the end.  Luckily for mystery-lovers, there are plenty of young adult novels in this genre to keep one reading for a long time!

Reality Check by Peter Abrahams centers around 16-year-old Cody whose hopes for a college scholarship faded away after his serious knee injury. Depressed, he dropped out of school and moved to Montana.  When he learns that his ex-girlfriend has disappeared from her boarding school in Vermont, Cody decides to go find her.  He meets resistance from the local police officer in charge who considers Cody a suspect.  Despite numerous obstacles, Cody is convinced she is alive and is determined to find her.

A disappearance is also the mystery in As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway.  Anna disappears a week before Valentine’s Day leaving only a dress placed neatly near a hole in the frozen river. Her boyfriend is desperate to find her and to understand what happened.  He begins reconstructing the events of the past five months trying to find clues to why she would have disappeared or been abducted.  As he recounts their time together, the reader learns of their relationship and how special Anna was to him.

Upstream by Melissa Lion is a murder mystery that takes place in Alaska.  High school senior, Marty, and her boyfriend go on a trip to a remote area of the state, where he is killed.  Marty tells everyone that he died accidently in a hunting accident, but the investigating officer is not convinced. With the help of her mother and two younger sisters, Marty tries to get over her grief and begin a new life.  They also try to protect her from the police.  Is she telling the truth?  Only she knows what really happened and she won’t tell.  Read this one to discover the answers!

At Yellow Lake by Jane McLoughlin is a different type of mystery.  Teens, Etta, Peter, and Jonah, all find themselves at Yellow Lake for different reasons.  Etta is on the run from her mother’s abusive boyfriend.  Peter has come from England to visit a place his recently deceased mother loved, and Jonah wants to get in touch with his Native American roots.  After a series of terrifying events, the three find themselves sharing a cabin at the lake.  They realize they have stumbled onto a crime scene and must hide so they do not become the next victims. What is going on at Yellow Lake and why can’t they get the police to help them?

Teen sleuth Robyn Hunter is the heroine in a series of mysteries by Norah McClintock. In the first book, Last Chance, Robyn has to clear the name of a guy she doesn’t like.  Nick D’Angelo has alwasy been in trouble, but recently has tried to turn his life around.  He seeks Robyn’s  help when he is charged with a serious crime. Robyn is a likeable and smart detective, and once you read one book, you will want to read the others in this series.

Mystery-lovers can’t go wrong with any of these picks. So, pick one, follow the clues, and solve the mystery!






Pick up a book on the way to the movies!

If you are headed to the movie theater this holiday season, be sure to stop by the library or a bookstore first. Several of the new releases are based on novels.  I always say to read the book, and then see the movie, but if you don’t have time, see the movie, and then definitely check out the book!  Many fans of The Hunger Games will be heading to see Catching Fire.  Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen.  In this second part of the trilogy, Katniss and Peeta embark on a Victor’s Tour of the districts, and then learn that they must participate in the 75th Hunger Games. Katniss also discovers that a rebellion is underway to get rid of President Snow, and she has become a symbol of the rebellion. The events in Catching Fire pave the way for the next installment, Mockingjay.  I recently read that Mockingjay is going to be divided into two movies.  A lot does happen in the final book, but personally, I would rather see a longer movie than pay to see two movies. But, I am sure many fans will look forward to spending more times with some of their favorite characters from the books.

Another great book that is now on screen in The Book Thief.  If you haven’t read this book, you should!  The story takes place in Nazi Germany where Leisel lives with her foster parents.  Leisel loves to read, but books are scarce during the war.  She discovers that a man in town has a huge library, so she decides to start stealing books.  She shares the books with the Jewish man her parents are hiding in the basemement.  There is a lot of tense moments in the story. Will Leisel get caught?  Will the Nazis discover her family is hiding a Jew?  Will her foster father be forced to be in the army?  It is an exceptional book, and I am hoping the movie does it justice.

Science fiction fans should enjoy Ender’s Game based on the book by Orson Scott Card.  Once you read one book in the Ender series, you will want to read them all!   Andrew “Ender” Wiggins is a teen who is selected for the elite Battle School. The government is preparing a special military branch in preparation for an invasion from an alien race.  Ender is a brilliant soldier and soon finds himself in the Command School, and leads soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of earth.  This movie has gotten good reviews for the non-stop action and special effects.

So, enjoy some great books and their movie this holiday season!










Spooktacular October Reads

Once October comes, I get requests from students looking for something scary to read.  Most readers are familiar with Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and there are well-known classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but there are many other books that will send shivers up your spine!

One of the scariest books I have read is Lockdown: Escape from the Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith. Fourteen-year-old Alex is framed for murder and given a life sentence in the Furnace Penitentiary. The Furnace is filled with brutal inmates, sadistic guards, and mysterious happenings.  Inmates are dragged out of their cells in the middle of the night never to return, or do they?  Some of the rats and monsters in the Furnace seem to resemble inmates.  Alex is determined to escape, but no one has ever succeeded in leaving Furnace Penitentiary.  This book is truly horrifying and spine tingling!  Once you read it, you will want to read others in the series.

In Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, a boy is happy to earn an apprenticeship with Dr. Warthrop, who is a scientist.  His happiness soon turns to horror when he learns that the Doctor hunts and steals real-life monsters and then uses them in his experiments.  This book is truly creepy, so beware!

Tom, the seventh son of the seventh son, is also in for a surprise when he earns and apprenticeship with the village spook. In Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delany, Tom learns how to protect people in the town from ghohls, boggarts, and wicked beasts, and it is not an easy job. There are plenty of scary events to keep you reading this one! If you like this book, there are several others in the series.

In Clay by David Almond, a new boy who comes to live in an English town.  He likes to build clay figures that resemble real people.  But, he also claims that he has supernatural powers and can bring these figures to life.  No one believes him until people start diappearing.   Something truly sinister is going on in the town, but what, and how can it be stopped?

If you like haunted houses, read Daemon Hall by Andrew Nance.  Famed writer R.U. Tremblin (get it?) holds a short story contest and invites the five finalists to spend a terrifying and deadly night with him in a haunted house.  As you can guess, this does not end well!

An amusement park turns deadly in Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman. Blake and his brother Quinn receive an inviation to a phantom carnival. When they arrive, Blake must survive seven different rides that make him face his deepest fears and darkest secrets. Can he survive the night, or will he be scared to death?

If these books aren’t enough to satisy your need to read something scary, try All Hallow’s Eve, a collection of short stories editied by Vivian Vande Velde, featuring vampires, ghosts, witches, werewolves, and goblins.  This is the perfect read for anyone who loves Halloween!








Read an e-book!

Have you tried an e-book?  The LMC has recently added more e-books to the collection, so there are more than 200 to choose from.   E-books, or electronic books, can be read on your laptop, smartphone, IPad, Kindle, and other mobile devices.  They can be read anywhere, anytime, and don’t take up room in your locker or backpack.  One of the best things about e-books from a student’s point of view, is that one never has to pay a fine for an e-book!  E-books can be checked out, just like a print book.  The difference is that an e-book will be automatically checked back in on the due date.  It “magically” disappears from your account and mobile device.   So, e-books can never be overdue!  This is an advantage for students who can’t seem to get to the LMC or get books back on the due dates.  If you aren’t finished with the book, you can check it out again.

I have accessed e-books on my Smartphone and find them easy to use.  I always have my phone with me, so I always have something to read.  They can certainly make time go by more quickly when you are standing in a long line, or sitting in a waiting room. They are great for SSR, or when you have nothing to do in Homework Club or ISpartan!

E-books can also be read without actually checking them out.  You can simply access the book, read it, and then close the book.  It is like taking a book off the shelf in the LMC, reading it for awhile, and then putting it back on the shelf.  For example, you can access a reference book like Novels for Students, and search for the information you need.  You can print the pages you want, or take notes, and then close the book.

Many e-books can be used by more than one person at the same time.  These are called “unlimited subscriptions.”  This means you and a friend can read the same book at the same time, or a class can access the same book.  But, some e-books, especially young adult fiction titles, are limited to one user at a time. This means only one person can read it at a time.  Whether a book is limited to one user, or has an unlimited use, is determined by the publisher, and not the LMC.  The LMC likes to purchase unlimited subscription e-books, but some titles just aren’t available this way.

You can find e-books two ways. You can go to the Destiny Catalog to search for a title.  E-books are indicated by a blue e next to the title.  Another way is to use Follett Shelf.  There is a link to this from the Destiny Catalog.  Follett Shelf lists all the e-books in the collection.  To use an e-book you must log into Destiny or Follett Shelf with your school user name and password.

E-books are easy to use and provide a different way for reading.  Try one out!  If you want to access them from your smartphone, Kindle, or Ipad, stop in the LMC for a handout that explains how to to this.

Whether you prefer books in print, or as an e-book, keep on reading!



Let’s hear it for strong heroines!

The Hunger Games introduced us to Katniss Everdeen who has to be one of the most courageous heroines in young adult literature.  Katniss is intelligent, brave, loyal, and kind. Katniss is just one of the many strong heroines that have been featured in recent young adult fiction.  If you admire Katniss, here are some other heroines you should meet.

Divergent by Veronica Roth is a fast-paced read.  Beatrice Prior is 16 and lives in futuristic Chicago.  The government has divided people up into five different groups. Beatrice must choose to join one of these groups, which will define her identity for the rest of her life.   When she makes her decision, she must leave her family, and train for her new role in society.  But, she discovers she is an anomoly and doesn’t want to conform to strict rules. She decides to join a rebel faction that plans to overthrow the government, and puts herself, her friends, and her family in danger.

In Legend by Marie Lue, America has been split into two battling nations.   June has grown up in a world of luxury and is a brilliant soldier.  When her brother is murdered during a break-in at a hospital, she is out for revenge.  She begins tracking down a suspect named Day.  She discovers, that Day is not all that he appears on the surface, and that they both have a common enemy that is much more dangerous than they could have imagined.  If you are looking for a page-turner, I recommend this one. It has lots of action, and lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing what will happen next.

Another strong heroine is Katsa in the book Graceling by Kristin Cashore.  This is a definite read for anyone who loves fantasy.  Katsa lives in a world where everyone has a special skill, called a Grace.  Katsa carries the burden of having the Grace of killing.  She lives under the command of her uncle who expects her to torture and kill anyone he doesn’t like.  When Katsa meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, her life changes forever.  Katsa and Po discover a secret and plot together to destroy her uncle and his evil powers.

A different kind of heroine is found in Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  A giant meteor has hit the moon causing world wide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.  The world has changed and there are shortages of food, water, and electricity.  Miranda Evans, her mother, and brother must somewhow learn to survive in this new word.   Miranda finds herself scavenging for food, protecting her home, and doing things she never imagined to keep her family alive.  Readers will admire her courage and perserverance.  The book is followed by a sequel, This World We Live In, which is just as compelling!

These are just a few of the strong, courageous heroines you can find in young adult novels in the LMC!




From Page to Screen

Ever wonder where movie producers get their ideas?  Many of them come from books.  Several novels are being adapted for the big screen this year. Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes the classic romance, Romeo and Juliet, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Damien Lewis.  I am not sure how many times these star-crossed lovers have been portrayed on screen, but obviously they bring in money at the box office.

Also premiering in February is I Am Number Four.  This action-packed sci-fi thriller stars Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron, and Callan McAuliffee.  It is based on the book by the same name by Pittacus Lore, and tells the story of a teen who has hidden out on Earth for 10 years gathering power so he can battle the people who destroyed his planet.

Fantasy and action are combined in Incarceron, also scheduled out in 2013.  Taylor Luatner is reported to star in this adaptation of the book by Catherine Fisher.  No one escapes the futuristic prison known as Incarceron, but Claudia, the daughter of the prison’s warden, decides she is going to risk her life to help a young man escape.  If you read the book, you can also read the sequel, Sapphique.

Keep you eyes out for If I Stay, based on the novel by Gayle Forman.  Be sure you have kleenex before heading to see this one because it will definitely make you cry. Mia’s life is changed forever when a car accident kills her family and leaves her in a coma.  Should she let go of life and be with her family, or should she stay and keep on living?  The book made me cry, so I know I will be shedding many tears during the movie.

Another adaptation of The Great Gatsby is coming out this spring starring Leonardo DiCapprio and Carey Mulligan. The F. Scott Fitzgerald novel about the rich Jay Gatsby and his friends in the 1920s is required reading in many high schools, so there might be an audience among those who want to see the movie along with reading the book.  Or, they will see the movie in place of reading the book, which in my opinion is a big mistake.  Never judge a book by the movie!

You can read all of these books before you head to the movie theater.  Just stop by the LMC and check one out!

Exciting new series!

Many people enjoy reading series.  Once we become familiar with characters we want to know what happens next. This is especially true with several new series you can find in the LMC.

I may be wrong, but I predict the next “hot” series is going to be The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  I am even going to predict that a movie will eventually be made from this series. The Maze Runner is another fight for survival story, and the teens are being manipulated and controlled.  But, you have to read the entire series to discover who is in control and why.  The story begins with 16-year-old Thomas who wakes up one day in the middle of a maze. He has no idea where he is, or how he got there.  In fact, his memory seems to have been wiped clean.  It isn’t long before he discovers that other teens are also trapped in the Maze.  What is the Maze?  Who created it?  Is there a way out? Will anyone escape?  Once you read the first book, you will want to read the other books in the series, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure.  You have to read the entire series to find all the answers.  If you liked the excitement and action of the Hunger Games Series, you definitely want to read The Maze Runner!

If you prefer magic, exciting battles, and mystery, The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan should not be missed.  In the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan, Will is selected to become a Ranger’s Apprentice.  The Rangers are said to practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people.  Will soon discovers that the Rangers are protectors of the Kingdom, and extremely skilled in battle tactics.  A major conflict is brewing between the kingdom and the exiled Lord Morgarath who is gathering forces and is plotting to take over and rule the kingdom.  Will’s adventures as an apprentice will keep you reading this series.

For ladies, I recommend Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita.  This series is just fun and amusing to read!  The series revolves around Kaitlin Burke, a 16-year-old teen celebrity.  Kaitlin decides that she is a bit tired of all the stress of being a star.  She has to deal with her agents, tutors, demands on her time, rehearsals, etc.  She wants to take a rest and just be an ordinary teenager for a while.  So, she decides to disguise her identity and enroll in high school.  She soon discovers that being “ordinary” is harder than she thought.  The series continues with several books including On Location and Family Affair

Luxe is another great series, especially for anyone who likes to be transported to a different time.  These books by Anna Godberson are set in New York City at the beginning of the 1900s.  During this time, people’s social class was important, and social classes didn’t mix much.  The series begins when Elizabeth Holland, a well-known socialite, mysteriously dies.  The reaction to her death brings out secrets and scandalous behavior among her teenage friends who knew her.  It seems that almost everyone has something to hide.  Who were Elizabeth’s friends and who were her enemies?  The series is continued with Rumors and Envy.  Mystery and romance combine to make this an enjoyable series!

I hope one of these series will appeal to you. Enjoy reading!

Play ball!

Spring and baseball just naturally go together.  Once baseball season begins, baseball fans spend their weekends watching games and cheering for their home team.  Along with watching the game, this is a good time to read about it, so here are some suggestions for all the baseball fans.

Baseball Crazy edited by Nancy E. Mercado is a collection of short stories that celebrate all aspects of the game, from sitting in the stands hoping to catch a fly ball, to being on the diamond and experiencing the pressure of being the pitcher.   The stories will be enjoyed by everyone who plays or watches baseball.

In Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ronald Koertge, 14-year-old Kevin Bland is an MVP who gets sick and is suddenly benched.  He is frustrated that he is missing the entire season. He pours his frustrations into a journal where he writes about baseball, friendships, girlfriends, and his family.  The stories are written in different styles of poetry, but don’t let this scare you away from this entertaining book.  The poetry is easy to read!

High Heat by Carl Deuker has lots of baseball action along with a good story.  When Shane Hunter’s dad commits suicide, Shane, his mother, and sister, find themselves in economic trouble and have to move out of their huge house into an apartment in another part of town.  Shane makes some bad choices including robbing a store.  As part of his sentence, he has to help repair a town’s baseball diamond.  He meets the coach of his new school, who talks Shane into joining the team.  Shane enjoys the team and gains confidence as a player. But, when his new team faces the team from his old high school, Shane has a difficult time coping with his feelings of anger and resentment over the loss of his former life.

Another novel filled with play-by-play baseball action is The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John Ritter. The kids of Dillontown love baseball, but the 100-year-old stadium in town is threatened by a development company that plans to tear it down to build a shopping mall.  Tom Gallagher decides to appeal to the owner of the land, Doc, who is elderly, wealthy, and a bit unconventional.  Doc decides that the fate of the town should be decided by a baseball game between Dillontown and a neighboring team.  Tom is worried that they are going to lose so he tries to recruit a former major league player to be on the team.  The night before the big game, a boy named Cruz de la Cruz, comes to town and offers to play.  Can Dillontown win and keep baseball in its town?  Read this book to find out!

So, baseball fans, grab a book and read about your favorite sport!  These and other baseball books in the library can keep you reading through the World Series!

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